High Speed Ground Transportation (HSGT) is a relatively new concept in the United States, and to help you better understand the basics of HSGT and how it might apply in this state, the Georgia Department of Transportation has placed frequently asked questions (FAQs) and their answers on this page.
What is the plan to get people from Cherokee to Cartersville or from Rome to Cartersville?
The High Speed Ground Transportation stations will have parking areas where customers of the system can drive their personal automobiles to the station location, and ride the system. In other areas served by local transit systems, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) will work with those systems to offer connecting services to the High Speed Ground Transportation stations. In addition, in areas that show large potential demand, but not enough to warrant a station, GDOT will work with the local/regional authorities to establish express bus service from an off-site park and ride lot to a High Speed Ground Transportation station. Should there not be express bus service available, customers in Cherokee County, depending upon their location, could drive to either the proposed Cartersville or Town Center Stations to utilize the system. With regard to Rome customers, the project team is currently evaluating alignments that provide direct access to Rome. However, should those alignments not be selected for advancement, customers in Rome would either utilize their automobile to access the High Speed Ground Transportation station, or utilize potential express bus service from an off-site park and ride location in Rome.
Are they considering bus from Cherokee to Galleria Mall or Town Center Mall?
In areas served by local transit systems, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) will work with those systems to offer connecting services to the High Speed Ground Transportation stations. In addition, areas that show large potential demand, but not enough to warrant a station, GDOT will work with the local/regional authorities to establish express bus service from an off-site park and ride lot to a High Speed Ground Transportation station.
Why is this study not a part of the Comprehensive Transportation Plan going on right now in Douglas County?
The study team for this project met with Douglas County Planning and Economic Development staff and was made aware of the on-going comprehensive plan effort. The current materials from that County plan have been utilized in this study. Due to the length of this study and stage this study is in, any results regarding High Speed Ground Transportation would need to be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan in the future.
How frequently will the trains run?
The preliminary operating plan has a mixture of express, limited and local trains. Although this plan is being refined, it can be anticipated that, at a minimum, there will be one train per hour, and during peak hours, several trains per hour.
Why is there not a station option on the west side of Atlanta in Douglas and Paulding Counties since the rail will run through this area?
Based upon the results of community outreach efforts including local government meetings, stakeholder meetings and special group outreach efforts, as well as preliminary technical data, it was decided to place a station in Douglas County, north of I-20, for testing as part of the screening process. This means that a station has been added to several of the west alignments, and will be tested against other alignments and station locations.
Considering the commuter volume from the areas west of Atlanta and possible transport demand from Carroll, Douglas and Paulding Counties to northern areas, why is there no planned station in Douglas County and Paulding County?
As indicated above, it was decided to locate a potential station in Douglas County, north of I-20 for ridership testing. Due to the general spacing requirements of High Speed Ground Transportation systems, it was determined that placing a station in Paulding County would not be as effective or as efficient as the proposed Douglas County Station.
Why was the route to Chattanooga selected?
Currently, the state and interstate highway system between Atlanta and Chattanooga are operating at or near capacity, and are unable to keep pace with transportation demand resulting from population growth in the region. This is especially evident within and adjacent to the major metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Rome, Dalton and Chattanooga. Although capacity improvements to the state and interstate system along the corridor are either currently underway or planned for the near future, they are considered interim, that is, they will not address all of the future capacity or mobility needs. Social and economic demands will continue to call for provision of alternative transportation choices for those individuals who cannot or choose not to drive, as well as those travelers looking for alternatives to congested highways. A HSGT system between Atlanta and Chattanooga has the potential of meeting this need for a non-highway transportation alternative.
The concept of High Speed Ground Transportation service between Atlanta, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee has been a subject of study for approximately ten years. Initially, the Georgia Department of Transportation studied this corridor as part of a 1997 Intercity Rail Plan. The Atlanta to Chattanooga Corridor was first considered for high-speed ground transportation service as part of the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Maglev Deployment Program to demonstrate magnetic levitation train technology in the United States.
Why are there no stops South of Atlanta?
The general study limits are from Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Chattanooga. It is envisioned that other High Speed Ground Transportation studies in the future will focus on the area south of Atlanta. Depending on the potential alignments, these include, but are not limited to Atlanta-Macon-Savannah-Jacksonville, and Atlanta-Charlotte.
I am concerned about jobs for Georgians. How many jobs will this project bring to the communities, especially for minorities?
The number of temporary and permanent jobs generated by the implementation of this project will be calculated as part of this ongoing environmental analysis process, and we expect the preliminary results concerning this issue by late Spring of 2009.
Safety — How safe are these high speed rail systems?
High Speed Ground Transportation Systems are extremely safe. In order to minimize the possibility of train-vehicular or pedestrian collisions and maximize safety, this system would be fully separated from all streets and highways. Barrier intrusion systems would also be incorporated in areas where the system would be at-grade.
What are the differences in energy consumption between Very High Speed Rail (VHS) and Maglev?
The energy consumption differences will be analyzed as part of this study, and will be documented in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The specific differences are not known at this time.
What is the projected cost per mile for VHS vs. Maglev?
A detailed cost estimate would be completed for each of the reasonable alternatives that are carried forward into the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). At present, it is envisioned that both Maglev and Very High Speed technologies will be advanced, and that information will be presented in the DEIS.
What are the initial thoughts on passenger fares?
A generalized fare schedule with estimated costs will be prepared as part of the Alternatives Analysis, which is anticipated to be completed later this year. A more specific analysis will be prepared as part of the DEIS. Initial thought are that fares will be distance based, as well as time of day and operations based (express, limited or local service). It is possible that daily users such as commuters would receive deep discounts for pre-paid passes.
Can you provide more details on the anticipated operating plan? Is any express service being considered?
A specific operating plan has not been developed at this point in the study. However, it is anticipated that an express service would be evaluated as part of the alternatives analysis, as well as in the DEIS.
What are the considerations for park-and-ride lots?
Park and Ride lots are not a part of this study. However, as part of the DEIS, general station parking requirements will be developed based upon ridership estimates, and will be used to assess station land needs and costs.